“Die with honor, O’Brien.” -- Tosk
From the very beginning, the Gamma Quadrant was DS9‘s most tantalizing promise. An entire sector of unexplored space, in which anything could be waiting. In the early going, it was pretty clear that the show wasn’t quite sure how to fulfill that promise. By the second season, the team of writers led by Ira Steven Behr would surpass it, but, for the time being, it was to be used for the kinds of episodes more suited to TNG. Just instead of going to the new life and new civilizations, they would have to come through the wormhole to the cast.
“Who said anything about volunteering? We can haggle over price later.” --Quark
The mysterious plague episode is the baked potato of the Star Trek franchise. It’s the staple, presumably what the writers do when they don’t have anything better on the agenda. “So, what’s the plan this week?” “I dunno, Ira, how about a mysterious plague?” “GOLD! You’re spinning gold right now!” It might seem shocking that DS9 dipped into that well so quickly, but they showed more restraint than TNG whose “Naked Now” was the very second episode ever. Fortunately, this doesn’t feature Denise Crosby with bizarre ‘80s hair either.
“Laws change, depending on who’s making them -- Cardassians one day, Federation the next. But, justice is justice.” -- Constable Odo
The quote above is pretty stunning. It’s not the kind of thing you would see in any other installment in the Star Trek franchise, unless it came out of the mouth of a villain or maybe a guest star whose opinion of Starfleet would change before the credits rolled. Here, it’s coming from a series regular -- the station’s security officer, Odo -- and he’s basically saying that the laws of our heroic utopia and a brutally oppressive regime, who regarded war crimes as an icebreaker, are the same. It’s a pretty important window into Odo, who, for the first two episodes, was something of an enigma. He’s center stage in “A Man Alone,” and we really start seeing the character that would become not only a fan favorite, but arguably the most important person across two quadrants.
“It was so much easier when I knew who the enemy was.” -- Major Kira Nerys
DS9’s great strength has always been its sprawling cast. While the other entries in the franchise largely confined their drama to the command staff of a starship with the occasional reoccurring player, DS9 built a rogue’s gallery of guest stars, many of whom were among the show’s strongest characters. Of these, a single man stands atop all others and remains my favorite amongst any of the Trek shows. That man? Garak. Plain, simple Garak.
“Good luck, Mr. Sisko.”-- Captain Jean-Luc Picard
I’ve loved Star Trek for as long as I can remember. I was a fan of the films (well, the second, third, and fourth anyway) and eagerly embraced TNG when it hit the air. Despite an abiding fandom, I never turned into one of those scary, obsessive fans the franchise is infamous for. Well, not until I saw Deep Space Nine.